Monday, January 15, 2024



  1. Definition:

    • Pronoun - "They" is a third-person plural pronoun in English, used to refer to a group of people, animals, or things. It is also increasingly used as a singular pronoun to refer to a person whose gender is non-binary or unknown. "They" serves as the subject of a verb or the object of a verb or preposition.
  2. Origin:

    • The word "they" originates from the Old Norse "þeir," which was adopted into Middle English. It replaced the Old English "hīe" (the original third-person plural pronoun). The use of "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun has historical precedent but has gained prominence in contemporary English to promote inclusivity.
  3. Usage in a Sentence:

    • Plural: "They are going to the concert tonight."
    • Singular: "Someone left their bag here. Do you know if they are coming back?"
  4. Historical and Contemporary Usage:

    • Historically, "they" was primarily used as a plural pronoun. Its singular use is not new, having been employed in various forms since at least the 14th century. In contemporary usage, the singular "they" is increasingly recognized and accepted as a gender-neutral pronoun, reflecting evolving attitudes towards gender identity and inclusivity.
  5. Cultural Significance:

    • The usage of "they" as a singular pronoun is significant in discussions of gender identity and inclusivity in language. Its acceptance reflects a growing awareness and respect for non-binary and transgender individuals in society.
  6. Related Forms:

    • "Them" (object pronoun): Used as the object of a verb or preposition, referring to multiple people, animals, or things.
    • "Their" (possessive adjective): Used to indicate something belonging to or associated with multiple people, animals, or things.
    • "Theirs" (possessive pronoun): Used to refer to something belonging to or associated with them.
    • "Themselves" (reflexive pronoun): Used to refer to the people, animals, or things previously mentioned.
  7. Etymology:

    • The adoption of "they" from Old Norse into Middle English and its evolution to modern English reflects linguistic adaptability and influence. Its current usage, including as a singular pronoun, showcases the dynamic nature of language in response to cultural and social changes.

"They" is a fundamental pronoun in English, versatile in referring to multiple people or as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun. Its usage is key to inclusivity and respect in modern communication, highlighting the language's capacity to adapt to changing social norms.



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